11/28/2008, 00.00
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Gunfire still heard in Mumbai, five hostages killed in Jewish centre

Indian commandos secure the Trident-Oberoi Hotel, but fighting continues at the Nariman House, the Taj Mahal Hotel and the city’s main railway station. Pakistan’s military intelligence chief is set to travel to India for an unprecedented summit to lower tensions between the two countries.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Fighting is still raging in Mumbai but the end of the bloody terrorist operation may be finally near. The death toll now stands at 149 with 288 people wounded. Among the terrorists 11 have been killed and almost all hostages are said to have been freed.

Indian commandoes “cleaned” the Trident-Oberoi Hotel this morning but gunfire could still be heard around the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the city’s main railway station, surrounded by special anti-terrorism units, and the Taj Mahal Hotel where the terrorist attack began.

Police sources reported that 50 bodies have been recovered so far from inside the hotel, where at least one terrorist is said to be still “operational”. The Special Forces, who lost two of their own, are slowly moving through the building, one room at a time. 

Also the police assault on Mumbai’s Jewish centre, Nariman House, is not over yet. Two terrorists were killed during the operation, which began in the morning when Indian commandos dropped from helicopters (pictured) on the centre’s roof. But India’s National Security Guards Chief J.K. Dutt said the bodies of five people were found, who “appear to be of hostages.” His men are making their way across the third floor of the building which was damaged by explosions and from which smoke is coming out.

Israel’s Embassy in India had earlier said that there were “at least six Israelis” in the centre.

In the meantime tensions with Pakistan are rising but there is an attempt to cool them. although one terrorist had Pakistani papers according to India’s Home Affairs Minister R.R. Patil, Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, head of Pakistan's powerful but controversial military intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI, is set to travel to India to discuss with his Indian counterparts the possibility of unprecedented cooperation, intelligence sharing and common anti-terrorism strategies.

Islamabad took the initiative after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a press conference called on the Pakistani government to work with India.

Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee went further saying that preliminary evidence indicated that “elements with ties to Pakistan are involved.”

He also urged Pakistan to dismantle the infrastructure that supported militants.

(Nirmala Carvalho collaborated on this article)

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